Brexit vote: Government defeats EU customs union bid

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The prime minister was saved from a humiliating reverse by the votes of four Labour Brexiteers - and one sitting as an independent - who backed the government in the crucial division.

He said: "The government is not proposing any equivalent scrutiny processes for agreements that will replace those we now have through our membership of the EU, this lack of scrutiny is a major issue and we raised the concerns of business, trade unions, civil society, consumers and many more at committee".

A relieved International Trade Secretary Liam Fox described the trade plan as "the confident first step that the United Kingdom takes towards establishing itself as an independent trading nation for the first time in over 40 years". He added, "it will be the confident first step that the United Kingdom takes in establishing itself as an independent trading nation".

Mrs May was defeated on a separate amendment to her flagship Trade Bill, which will require her to seek continued United Kingdom participation in the EU's system for regulation of medicines after Brexit.

More votes were expected yesterday on Mrs May's Brexit plans, this time on her trade Bill.

The closeness of the ballots and the strength of feeling on both sides of her divided party underlined the scale of her task in getting the final Brexit deal she negotiates with the European Union through Parliament.

Brexiteers believe that keeps Britain too close to the European Union, while pro-Europeans think it fails to protect the country's dominant services sector, among other gripes. Pro-Europeans think it fails to protect the country's dominant services sector, among other gripes. The cabinet deal was then undermined by the resignations of Brexit minister David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Local Labour activist Jamie Green said: "Kate Hoey has propped up this Tory government at their weakest moment and has, with that vote, abandoned all right to call herself a Labour MP".

Arlene Foster and Theresa May
Theresa May and DUP leader Arlene Foster visited the Irish border today

May averted defeat on the proposed legislation - part of a series of bills overseeing Britain's withdrawal from the European Union - by bowing to pressure from hard line eurosceptics in her own party. Critics say the move is a bid by a government to escape the prospect of more rebellions in the Conservative Party.

"I started the week intending to support the prime minister".

Although far from lavishing praise on the United Kingdom government's new Brexit plan, it's an interesting change of emphasis from a first minister who has to date exclusively fired his rhetorical arrows towards Downing Street.

The Prime Minister is due to fly into Northern Ireland on a two-day trip tomorrow that will include a high-profile visit to the border.

May's challenges came as some British politicians on Tuesday again questioned the legitimacy of the Brexit vote after the electoral watchdog said the official group campaigning for Britain's exit in the 2016 referendum broke electoral laws.

John Major, who lost power in 1997 after years of Conservative dissent over Europe, also backs a second poll and said positions are more "entrenched" today.

"I would have preferred to have seen Mrs May adopt the bull in the china shop approach of Donald Trump, which appears to be much more effective".

During the Brexit referendum campaign, President Barack Obama visited the United Kingdom and threatened that, in the event of a Leave vote, Britain would "go to the back of the queue" in terms of securing a trade deal with the US.

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